Next Week's Meal Plan: 5 Family-Friendly Dinner Classics

Next Week's Meal Plan: 5 Family-Friendly Dinner Classics

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Meghan Splawn
Apr 22, 2017
(Image credit: Meghan Splawn)

The week after a holiday is always a little bit nutty. Our routine is off, skewed by hosting family and trying to eat up leftover ham rather than do a real meal plan. Meal planning is like a friendly reset button at the end of the week.

But this week I'm fighting fatigue and instead of trying to be creative in my meal plan, I'm relying on my meal planning template.

(Image credit: Meghan Splawn)

The Saving Grace of the Meal Plan Template

Even as a seasoned meal planner, I find that returning to a familiar template is helpful for those weeks when I'm struggling to meal plan. My template gives me an easy out or often inspires me to try a new thing or two that fills out the template.

Here's the guide I use for a "template week."

  • Monday we eat a pasta dish.
  • Tuesday we eat tacos.
  • Wednesday is for breakfast for dinner.
  • Thursday we eat up leftovers.
  • Friday, as always, is for pizza.

These five template-inspired recipes are saving my soul this week.

Welcome to This Week's Meal Plan

Planning my weekly meals is a habit I enjoy. Since I'm frequently asked by friends and family what I'm cooking for dinner each week, I thought it'd be useful to share my weekly meal plan here. Whether you're just learning to meal plan and looking for a real-life example of how this works or you're an old pro on the hunt for inspiration, here's a peek at how I'm feeding my family this week.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Monday: Creamy Avocado Pasta

I've been making this creamy avocado pasta regularly since I tested it in February. It's a no-cook sauce that you whiz up in the food processor. Think of it as a nut- and dairy-free pesto meets Alfredo sauce. I'm serving ours with chopped cherry tomatoes and chickpeas folded in.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

Tuesday: Beef Tacos

Sauté ground beef with your favorite taco seasoning, warm up crunchy taco shells in the oven, add some chopped veggies and salsa, and boom — dinner is done. My kids are young and have trouble with taco shells falling apart while they eat, so I crack the crunchy taco shells in half and broil their beef and cheese on these "tortilla chips" as sort of a tortilla-turned-tostada, which makes them easier to devour for little hands.

(Image credit: Guy Ambrosino)

Wednesday: Medianoche Cuban Sandwiches

Yes, this is breakfast for dinner and a prime example of how a template can actually inspire. These Cuban sandwiches were actually part of a Cuban breakfast story that we ran on the site a few weeks ago, so when searching for breakfast recipes I stumbled on this beauty. Cubanos are beloved by my husband, and I cannot wait to try these.

P.S.: I'm making this pork loin for Sunday supper and using the leftovers here to make this a super-fast weeknight meal.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

Thursday: Leftovers Become Lettuce Wraps

Tuesday's leftover taco filling will become lettuce wraps for me and soba noodle topping for the kids on leftover night. I grabbed a couple of cucumbers to turn into these quick pickles too.

(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

Friday: Roasted Asparagus & Ricotta Pizza

Our family always ends the week with pizza, and this one is no exception. I have some roasted asparagus leftovers from the weekend that needs to be used up, so this ricotta pie is perfect.

What are you cooking this week? What do you cook when you're meal plan is stuck? Tell us in the comments!

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